By Joel Johnson at 8:59 pm Tue, Apr 21, 2009
It's okay, it's not sexist—it's a documentary.
this is from like what 10 years ago? whoa.
I hope OSHA doesn’t see this.
Insert Nigel from Spinal Tap saying “what’s wrong with being sexy?”
Arf, in France, feminists had this clip banned from tv. Screw you witches we got da interwebz !
Isn’t this video by the same guys who did that video with the sexy fat girls using home appliances? This was a hot clip.
Reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYPqA4slnbQ
I did notice that all of them are wearing safety eyewear. I have a lot of respect for those who take the proper precautions.
/no really, I do.
I’m sold. Where can I buy these tools (and are these ladies included)?
We have a few clients in the construction supplies industry who could benefit from marketing like this. I, for one, will be volunteering to handle the photo shoot.
the first girl in the video has clearly never used a hammer before. She is holding it to high on the handle and not getteing the proper mechanical advantage. of the handles levering action on the hammer head. I’m dissappointed.
I got your adjustable depth stop right here.
When I first heard this song, I imagined something much more like the Bjork “All is full of love” video, except with PC robots instead of Chris Cunningham’s Macs. Plus lots of rave lights, and a choreographed dance number. I also had this strong image of Stephen Hawking twisting his lip a bit as he delivered that male part. Maybe that’s insensitive, especially considering he’s only just getting over being ill.
Of course, this video is okay too.
a) This is old.
b) I still love it.
I’ll be in my bunk.
You should have seen the video they wanted to make.
Hmm why didn’t you post the uncesnored version? This one is the all ages G-rated one, but there is another one thats also intercut with hardcore porn scenes specifically shot for the video. If there is any interest I can upload it LOL
This was very informative and I think it’s great that they’re depicting empowered women in traditional male roles. I applaud the filmmakers in their efforts to break down the gender walls and promote equality in the workplace.
#14, I’m pretty sure there’s interest.
I’m amused by the fact that the gal with the jackhammer is wearing a checked shirt, a la your “Jackhammer Jill” mascot. Deliberate nod to BB?
Not to mention, from the reformed ravekid perspective, that the song is pretty incredible in its’ simplicity.
For those of you not acquainted with “Tha Nightlife” I would describe it not only as Jackin’, but highly representative of Nu Electro love for the masses.
Now that I have put myself out there as such I am gonna go don some ridiculous attire, link up all the 5.1 rigs in here, and jump around the house for a few hours.
Now combine it with the info that men see women in bikinis as objects, and you have a video full of tools:
Technogeek: Or maybe the logo was inspired by this video? It’s about that old…
I’m afraid I might lose a finger.
2003 called, it wanted it’s this back.
Still awesome, tho. Rave on.
wonderful : )
Yes, you are sexist. Do you think that gives you extra nerd cred or something? the sad thing is that, in the grand scheme of things, it does. A male dominated culture gives men extra pats on the back for being sexist, and realizing that, you decide it’s funny enough to make a joke about while collecting more credit for being sexist.
That’s not just sexist, it’s being sexist while being aware of what you’re doing and thinking it’s funny.
And yes, I was “that guy” who thought the women’s torso speaker system Mark posted here was sexist too.
And no, I’m not saying “m dsppntd n y, Bng Bng” (self disemvoweled for humor’s sake.). I am dissenting.
As with the last post, if you’re not up for a conversation about why your ideas or jokes aren’t funny to at least this person who takes feminism seriously, let me know. But someone in a crowd should stand up at least once when something someone does is wrong. So here I am. Not censoring, just trying to educate.
EvilHayama, I think I remember the Jackhammer Jill logo from back before BoingBoing was a blog.. Or rather, before I read it online. From around the Happy Mutant Handbook days, 1995 or so? I could be wrong – does anyone know when the Jill logo came to be?
I don’t know how old this video is, though.
Loved this the first time, brought back fond memories this time. Maybe we should have a special section: “BoingBoinged: Re-runs”, like stuff that was cool a decade ago and is cool/cooler now…
In RE: #15 posted by S3BR4, April 22, 2009 5:16 AM
Oh yeah, there’s interest. Bring it on!
It’ll give JJASPER something to do with his time.
I have a conundrum; if it’s wrong and “sexist” to enjoy the things your mother’s body genetically programmed you to enjoy, isn’t sex itself wrong and “sexist”? I mean, I am not attracted to men, just women – that’s in my DNA. So am I being an evil chauvinist pig whenever I appreciate a woman doing something I find titillating, of her own free will? I really don’t think I can possibly stop, unless I commit suicide.
Oh Ghod, you got me! As a feminist, I can’t enjoy sex! And if I pay a woman to do something degrading for my sexual pleasure, the fact that she’s taking money for it absolves me of being sexist! And I clearly can’t stop unless I commit suicide.
Well, thanks for clearing that up.
Oh, wait, you’re not Joel, you’re Joel’s target audience for his sexist humor. In fact, you’re not even a feminist.
JJasper: You could start by explaining how this video is sexist.
I’m not a feminist either. And neither are the girls in this video, I’d imagine. So why are you trying to make us hold things to your standard?
#29: Well, it’s certainly targeted at folks (of either gender) who are oriented toward women. I don’t consider that “sexist” per se.
If there’s a equivalent vid out there serving the other half of the audience, one might be able to argue that posting just one of the two is sexist.
Personally, I’d be more concerned about some of the missing safety equipment. That isn’t sexist, or even sexy, it’s just dangerous and a bad example.
Sorry, it’s basic wiring of the ape we’re riding around in: guys like to look and that’s completely independent of anything rational. Michael Longcor’s song “I Like To Watch You Walk” sums it up nicely.
I have always been, and continue to be, in deep deep love with techno/trance/house… but I have always hated that song.
Annoyingly it’s enjoying a resurgence as many current tracks are including a “Satisfaction” or “SFaction” remix that intertwines the most annoying aspects of this song. Hate it.
@ pork musket – I’m not a feminist either. And neither are the girls in this video, I’d imagine. So why are you trying to make us hold things to your standard?
I’m not trying to “make” anyone do anything, but implying that I am makes me into some sort of fascist boogeyman, and reduces feminism into something out of a Rush Limbaugh routine.
I’m not silencing anyone. I’m criticizing them. If you want to listen to me, as a feminist, you get to listen to my criticism of stuff like this. If you don’t want to engage with me, you don’t have to.
But what you’re trying to do is defend sexism against a feminist critique. That’s *engaging* with feminism by disagreeing with it.
Joel – you made the, joke, so clearly you thought someone might find it sexist. You could say “yes it’s sexist, but I think it’s also cool and interesting and worth sharing”. Lots of things are like that. You can watch a movie with sexist, racist, or homophobic content and still find it a good movie as long as there’s something compelling other than the racist/sexist/whatnot content.
Something that’s just the tool-selling equivalent of “The Man Show” is unapologetic sexist. As is this video. There’s nothing other than bodies being portrayed sexually in order to get men to watch a commercial.
Honestly, if you’re going to say something as like “It’s okay, it’s not sexistâ€”it’s a documentary.” to a huge blog site, you should know that if you’re trying to be ironic, it’s clear by the responses to my saying it is sexist that your irony was a bit too subtle for the actual sexists who hang out here, who seem to be in the majority.
If you want to understand sexism, consulting a sexist audience won’t help. If you wander over to a feminist and asked them if the video is sexist, what sort of response would you expect?
I’d like to politely request an answer to that last question if you’re going to address anything I have to say. Because I think you know the answer, or you wouldn’t have made the joke in the first place.
[sorry for any bad formatting here – the preview function seems to be borked]
This debate reminds me of this quote:
“I have tried so hard not to treat women like objects, but I find myself treating objects like women”-Allen Wells
I enjoyed watching the video, and I believe that was what the women who appeared in it would have wanted. It’s hard for me to imagine them doing this so they could find the sexist pigs and ostracize them.
Yes, it’s sexist. And like so much of the things on the internet that could possibly offend somebody, viewing it was not mandatory. We all have ways of being offended, and there are always going to be people out there who offend us. It wasn’t like Joel snuck this in as a legitimate documentary or tricked anybody into watching it. If you know that you’re offended by sexist material, it’s in your best interest not to view it.
@JJasper: I don’t quite understand your last request. You wonder what would happen if I asked a bunch of people who identified as feminists if they thought this video was sexist?
I guess some of them would find it sexist and some wouldn’t. It would sort of depend on what feminism meant to them. I get what you’re saying, I think, but not how it is a useful construct.
You’re right about me giving people who are oversensitive to stereotypical “sexy” imagery a little nudge with my comment, but I only used the term “sexist” because I guessed that might be a word that someone would throw around.
And I still am not sure I actually accept that girls in bikinis doing overtly sexual things is sexist. It’s not discriminatory. And the only stereotypical social role it perpetuates are that girls who look like the aforeogled are sexy. I guess one could argue that by showing only these types of women, other types of women are less attractive, but that’s a pretty big leap.
Scott – And I don’t mind the fact that sexist imagery gets play here, what I do mind is the idea that people who call it sexist are “oversensitive” to quote Joel. Calling an objection “oversensitive” ducks the topic. And of course the web is full of sexist things. It’s got racism, anti-semitism, and tons of other forms of bigotry. I’m not sure what you point is in saying that, other than the idea that, if there’s enough of a bad thing, we should just ignore it.
Joel – The last time this happened with the speakers, BB got written up by a few feminist bloggers, with the usual complaint back that they’re being too sensitive. It’s not “someone” who might throw the word around, it’s people who care about sexism. You know, “feminists”.
And I still am not sure I actually accept that girls in bikinis doing overtly sexual things is sexist. It’s not discriminatory.
I have no proof that you’re actually a qualified judge of what sexist is or isn’t, which is sort of backed up by the idea that something has to be discriminating against a group to be sexist.
Uh, that’s sort of the definition: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sexism
“1: prejudice or discrimination based on sex ; especially : discrimination against women
2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex”
So let me amend my original question to you, JJasper: Do you know what sexism is?
Ditto everything Spazzm said.
@ #25 – DCulbertson
I’m sure the Jackhammer Jill logo is older than BoingBoing the blog, I too remember it from the mid 90’s, probably via the Happy Mutant Handbook.
Maybe Mark could stop by and clear it up for us, but I’m pretty sure it’s much older than this video.
I think Simone de Beauvoir’s concepts of objectification and mystification of the “other” definition a bit better. But beyond that, there are several feminist dialogs about what is or isn’t sexist.
If you can find a feminist who can explain why it’s not sexist, I’d be happy to listen.
Ditto what Joel already said.
and that oversensitivity is a real problem in its own right.
(Some people go looking for imaginary problems just to create a platform for self-righteous drama.)
p.s. Boy am I sick of the resurgence in second-wave feminism. Third-wave / post-feminism was where it was at, yo!
JJasper: maybe people chuck terms like “over-sensitive” about because people like you get so darn, well, overly sensitive…
Guess what, this video doesn’t say women are intellectually inferior. It doesn’t say women are merely objects to be ogled at. It just says “god damn these girls look good with power tools.”.
Ever wondered why Rambo spends half the film topless? It’s so your girlfriend didn’t hate you for dragging her to go see it.
We ogle, they ogle. It works both ways, explain to me how that’s sexist. Or are you +1 for A-Sexual reproduction?
(P.S. God damn those girls look good with power tools.)
So I guess we’re waiting for a licensed feminist to settle this? JJasper, do you have a preferred firm or can we just look in the yellow pages?
Having seen the X rated version of this I was surprised to hear the song in a fast food commercial:
Wow, thanks for stepping up JJasper.
As a female BBG reader, I felt sad when I saw this post. The message it sends is that the only things of value about me are my physical attributes, and that I exist only for the sexual gratification of men. Point taken, but I wish you would have spared me the insult by just posting a “no girls allowed” banner on the front page instead.
I like this video. It’s well shot, fun and titilating. It’s definitely sexist though. I’m surprised people think otherwise. What is a sexist stereotype of a woman if not the ones in this video?
I support you, JJasper, in making a thing about this.
But doesn’t the video show that women can fill roles traditionally reserved solely for men without giving up their femininity?
Or did I miss the point of the whole thing? I thought it was sexy because they were so competent! Except the hammer drill operator; she’s totally going to break that bit, moving the drill body around while drilling. And those SDS bits are expensive.
The funny thing is that I first saw this video my second or third year of college, because the girls living in the other half of the duplex came over and told me I had to see something (note to self: go back to college). Sexist, maybe. That doesn’t mean it’s offensive to all women and inherently evil. Some strippers like to strip.
I am a heterosexual female, and I thought this was hilarious/awesome/etc.
I understand how it’s seeing women as objects, etc. I bet people are looking at the tools as objects too.
Can’t you just have fun and want attention? I’ve been having so much fun watching this and the Call On Me video.
I mean, I’m all for equal rights, but if someone wants to do this, why shouldn’t they?
And I didn’t see this as a “No Girls Allowed” banner. There is no reason females can’t enjoy this along with the guys. Lighten up. Just because men see this and may be titillated by it, does not mean they are sending us back into the kitchen. They are merely appreciating something that makes them happy. Should we destroy all paintings because some people can do it really well?
@#5, that would be Lo Rider, and the track is “Skinny”.
@48 Dove – Thank you!
As a female BBG reader, I felt sad when I saw this post. The message it sends is that the only things of value about me are my physical attributes, and that I exist only for the sexual gratification of men.
You’re reading into it something that isn’t there.
(i.e. You have the problem, not the video.)
Just because it’s sexy doesn’t mean it’s sexist.
Physical beauty and sexual gratification are valuable. Denying this is denying reality. For some people (male or female) sex appeal is realistically the only attribute of value they have to trade on. (For some other people, they only have their intelligence to trade on, and are otherwise hideous and insufferable people. We all have our differing strengths and weaknesses.)
But sexual attraction isn’t the only attribute of value all women could possibly possess. (Clearly, as many women are unsexy; your grandma, for instance.) And that’s never suggested in this video. Prescribing/proscribing for all women categorically is the definition of sexism. And that’s precisely the problem with second-wave feminism — it’s just reverse-sexism: telling women how to think and act. (or telling men how to think and act towards all women.)
Ending sexism means ending irrelevant categorization of men and women. You’re all individuals, you have to think for yourselves!
the blond using the Heavy Duty Breaker looks like Nicolette Sheridan.
Which gives me the excellent idea of doing a remake of this video using all the actresses from Desperate Housewives!
My Grandma was very sexy, thank you very much.
And proud of it, too! (And so was Grampa.)
And Grampa was a fine figure of a man, and a great provider.
That is all you need to know.
I think Zuzu’s point is really reasonable. I know, being male, I wasn’t brought up with the same pressures and expectations, but still when someone says I have a nice ass, or nice hair, I don’t feel objectified. I don’t feel put down or that my abilities have been minimized. I feel like, hey, I have a nice ass! Score!
When I see something like, say, the Stud N Spurs calendar that my wife got for christmas, I don’t say “that’s sexist.” I think it’s ridiculous but still don’t feel like a calendar of half dressed (and likely very gay) men is making me personally into an object.
This video is really, really silly, but I honestly don’t think it’s objectifying women any more than a similar video with men would be. (And believe me, they absolutely do exist.) But again, this is all very personal and has to do with someone’s perspective. Mine is that of a reasonably sensitive white male raised in a pretty fair, but still heavily balanced toward men, society.
But, like Zuzu says, appreciating a woman for being sexy isn’t the same as saying the only thing they can do is be sexy. If I appreciate my wife for her PhD and for knowing how to run a latent curve analysis, does that mean I can’t also appreciate her huge rack? No, not at all.
I do agree that, in our mainstream media, sexy images of women far outweigh sexy images of men. Part of that is sexism, but part of that is because women aren’t as visually oriented when it comes to sex. (I think?!)
It’s a very complex issue, and anyone that boils it down to black and white “this is wrong” type thinking is guilty of an oversimplified knee jerk reaction.
sexy != sexist
“The message it sends is that the only things of value about me are my physical attributes, and that I exist only for the sexual gratification of men.”
this is why most men don’t take feminism seriously. you’re personalizing the video – here’s how i would put it:
“The message it sends is that the only things of value about the girls in the video are their physical attributes, and that they are in this video only for the sexual gratification of men.”
If you said THAT I’d have to agree, however they are only ‘sex objects’ for the duration of the video. The reason why men enjoy looking at videos wherein the women are sex objects is because, in our little fantasy worlds, nothing could be better than a woman who inexplicably acts sexy, doesn’t talk, and seems purely interested in having sex/being sexy, sans the normal, real-life, pain in the ass courting phase, and subsequently maintaining through significant effort a decent relationship, in order to simply have sex.
we didn’t choose to have a biology/psychology that is stimulated by such things, and no one is forcing these women to do what they are doing. As far as self-degradation goes, regarding sex and nudity, those are just transient social conventions/trends. The puritanical values indoctrinated on the western world tell us that to be naked/scantily clad is to degrade oneself. But that’s purely subjective, and rather ridiculous – why should we be ashamed of our bodies? they are as God made them, if you’re spiritual, and if you aren’t then you’ve really got to admit the whole idea is 100% arbitrary.
take the women in say, the south pacific islands who go topless. are they degrading themselves? no, they aren’t, the feminists would say, because what they are doing is part of their culture. it’s not out of the ordinary, and it’s not sexual. ok, well, we’re talking about VALUES here people. VALUES tend to transcend culture. every civilization on earth will tell you that the following is wrong: murder, rape, assault, theft. Go down the list a bit more to say, drugs, prostitution, sex, nudity, and weapons, and all of a sudden you have many, many different positions. that’s because those things are subjectively wrong/not wrong. So, in conclusion, i posit that the whole reason that people tend to look down upon this sort of video is purely due to cultural indoctrination, and has nothing to do with right or wrong, degrading or empowering, good or bad.
of course there’s nothing wrong with defending ones culture, but perhaps you might want to step back and look at what your culture actually IS.
Horrible track, inspiring video…reminds me a bit of this gem (only with more oil and less cock):
All the hubub over the pretty ladies with tools is kind of entertaining by the way…man-card = revoked!
Is this sexist? Does this video reduce men to the status of mere sexual objects? If not, why the double standard? I’m curious as of to why so many people subscribe to the opinion that sexual imagery entails objectification and reduction of gender roles. Are women (and men, for that matter) not allowed to be sexually alluring without discarding their other attributes?
@Dculberson, It’s the women’s competence that the viewer is meant to notice. Of course.
It’s a commercial for power tools, marketed to the people who would make those purchases. It treats both sexes as tools. The women are extension of the machinery, meant to facilitate the “satisfaction” and are only there to get the attention of the consumers (assumed to be het men). The men are the viewers and off camera so not shown, but are assumed to be so predictable that they would make heavy-duty equipment purchases based on the opinions of their johnsons. So Yayyy for titillation! Just post the p0rn version already and let’s call it what it is. Trying to make the argument that it’s an effective marketing tool (what? women don’t buy these?) or “documentary” is what makes it sexist.
Diannes, This is not a commercial. It’s a music video by Benny Benassi. You’ll notice there are no brands and the tools are mostly shown in a way that makes them hard to identify the brand. It’s campy satire, and pretty good satire, I think.
@Dculberson, I saw the specs and Bosch and assumed it was a marketing endeavor. My bad (and poor title reading skills). It changes the way I think about it, for sure, and the difference could be a whole ‘nother discussion.
It’s cool. I thought the same thing at first, and had to check up myself. It really looks like a tool ad from an alternate, really skanky, dimension. (Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That.)
yeah/ WAY old! But Benassi also released an xxx version of this video which is, of course, much sexier!
Women are objects. OK, let me clarify… Women are composed of physical matter, who physically have sex, carry a physical child, give birth through their hips, and (possibly) nurse that child with their breasts. They are not disembodied personalities and intellects, and to treat them as such is both impossible and ill advised for the continuance of the human race. Of course as a man, you probably won’t (and shouldn’t) get to see any of those events first hand if you treat them primarily as sexual objects.
I’m just going to say that I really don’t give a shit about this video, just as I don’t give a shit about any videos, but this sort of environment makes me feel less welcome at BoingBoing Gadgets because it tacitly says “we’re targeting dudes” and I’m not a dude and also because it’s not that often that women are featured in tech blogs and when they are it’s like great, instant sexualization.
@59 Boohoo. There are plenty of articles on here that don’t interest me or about things I dislike. Tough shit. I don’t feel a need to comment on those articles.
@Dculberson, It’s a dimension that would be fun to visit (and will probably become the setting of a personal fantasy), but not one I’d like to live in.
You cannot call a single video sexist, unless it explicitly makes a general statement about how one or both sexes should behave all of the time. You can say that the music video industry is sexist because the worth of women in videos is always for their physical traits or their ability to perform stereotypical roles. To say that this video is making a political statement is projection.
If the video in this post was strictly showing real female executives doing their work, I am quite sure that a feminist would not call it sexist. Yet, according to JJasper’s argument, such a video would be pigeonholing females into only one role.
So, can a blog be called sexist for posting a sexy video? Definitely not. I can’t imagine a more egalitarian blog than BB; the list of posts about women whose value is greater than their physical traits or stereotypical abilities is innumerable.
Imagine, again, a website for a company that offers HR services whose specialty is to provide female executives to a company (idk if it exists, but this is the internet, so likely … and then rule 34 kicks in …). Again, i can’t imagine a feminist labelling it as a sexist site, yet it does as much damage (none) as a porn web site does by presumably forcing people of one sex into one career path.
Feminism is a valuable concept in that it brings light to inequalities. Society was (and in some ways still is) a nasty place for women who wanted to be something other than a stripper or a suzy-homemaker. But to say that a sexy music video is sexist is ludicrous. If a sexy music video has scantily clad, physically attractive women and men modelling in it and the men are getting paid more, then that’s sexist. But not because they’re scantily clad.
NOW, if someone (i’m looking at you jjasper) feels that people should never be employed strictly for their sexual attractiveness, then so be it. But don’t call that feminism. and guhdammit, don’t only draw attention to the female models, or else you’re being sexist yourself.
Take the eric prydz video posted by spazzm at #13 (yes i’ve studied all the linked videos in detail). There is only one guy and a crapload of girls, but the guy has been hired for his sexual attractiveness as much as the females. yes the video is marketed towards straight males, but it doesn’t change the fact that the guy wasn’t employed because he’s a good engineer, nurse, lawyer.
To JJasper et al.: Relax. Enjoy. Or don’t, in which case don’t watch it again and be on your merry way.
Mr Artichoke, Can I please tell you how very, very happy I am that you shared that link. What an excellent opportunity for constructive comparison.
#70: Not precisely equivalent, of course, since the subjects aren’t equivalently buff. But, yeah, it’s a good parody in the sense of being a good commentary upon the original.
However… Maybe the problem isn’t the vid, but the assumptions about how guys are reacting to the vid and what was meant by posting it? It’s _silly_, people. It doesn’t aspire to be anything more. We all agree on that. As such, the original is as much a parody as the response, and any guy looking at it is aware of that at the same time he may or may not be admiring the wildlife. It can actually be argued to be a nicely subversive bit of counter-programming just about as easily as it can be argued to be catering to the lowest common denominator.
I’m not defending it — as far as I’m concerned, it’s a three minute demonstration of how to take a bad joke over the top, though I will admit to being hetero-male enough to enjoy the scenery as much as I would on any beach (many of which have people exposing a lot more skin, be it noted). But I’m also not entirely convinced there’s anything to defend.
Rorshach test. What we see depends on what we bring with us.
#71: And this is the conversation I’m interested in. My reaction is the only one I can speak to. I think it’s interesting and worthwhile for me to explore the possible reasons why my very visceral reaction to the original (a weird combination of being turned-on and pissed off) changed to something like admiration the instant I learned this wasn’t a commercial, but a music video, and beyond that, possibly a satirical piece.
By comparison, my reaction to the joemonster version linked in #69 was equally conflicted: admiration again, but the visceral reaction was really more closely aligned to repulsion. Since the latter video was immediately recognized as parody, I didn’t experience a change in my feelings towards it. Contrast that to the 180-degree change in my feelings towards the original and maybe the difference can be explained by the pattern of social interactions that feminist theory attempts to describe and change (why, for instance, is one body type the shorthand for sexy?).
Idunno. Maybe it’s just more masturbation, all this thinking about things.
#72: Good social satire *should* be disturbing, forcing us to recognize/break habitual reactions.
As to why one body type is shorthand for sexy: I suspect it’s a combination of deep wiring of the ape and socialization. Humans, especially male humans, *are* visually triggered. Symmetry of body is known to operate as a rough proxy for health; some other characteristics stand as proxy for youth, both tending to indicate good breeding potential. Certain features are known to be “releasers”, and some body shapes emphasize those features, which again tends to encourage a sexual response. There’s some evidence that the ape level of our brain tends to seek folks who are similar to our family but not too similar — an instinct to avoid inbreeding?
On top of that, of course, is layered a set of learned social conventions. If you look at trends in Hollywood stars over the years you’ll see definite shifts in what facial configurations were considered “ideal”, which may be a larger-scale effect of the last point in the previous topic or may be spin-off from social assumptions about roles and history and what not. Over the longer scale we see shifts in what people wanted to emphasize about bodies, from codpieces and push-up corsets to outfits designed to make the wearer appear almost pre-pubescent. (And that’s ignoring the times when people weren’t supposed to admit they were looking.)
It should be noted, though, that even when these factors are operating at maximum strength they set only initial reaction. Let a gorgeous woman light up a cigarette, or establish that she has a personality that doesn’t mesh with mine and I’m immediately uninterested even in one-night-stand; conversely, a woman who isn’t particularly physically attractive at first glance may becomes so if she does have the intelligence and sense of humor and broad interests and so on that make her someone I’m particularly comfortable with. As I use the term, “cute”, meaning attractive on both those levels, is often higher praise than “beautiful”.
Of course, this is all emotional level, just barely getting above the ape. The intelligence riding around in this glorified chimpanzee has its own opinions on what, if anything, should be done about attractiveness, either initial or after evaluation. But that doesn’t mean I can’t chuckle at the ape sitting up and taking notice when buttons get pushed… or that I don’t sometimes amuse myself by deliberately poking at ’em.
I do love the women’s movement. But I also love watching women’s movement. There’s no conflict; they’re seperate issues.
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